College Station, Texas Oct. 13, 2011 – The Stephen F. Austin University team of Andrew Upshaw, Hemphill, Texas and Ryan Watkins, Rockport, Texas, took the lead on day one of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Texas Regional championship presented by Mercury and hosted by Texas A&M on Lake Somerville Thursday with a five bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces. The team holds over a two pound lead over their nearest competitors, the Texas A&M team of Kyle Bates and Cody Collins. Teams are fishing for a top award of $50,000 to be split between the university and the university’s bass fishing club – $12,500 and a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower outboard wrapped in school colors for the bass club and $12,500 for their school.
“We may have caught some big fish,” said Watkins. “But it sure wasn’t easy. Conditions on the lake today changed from yesterday during practice and we had to make a lot of adjustments. There was a high pressure system that moved through this morning with just enough wind to change the water color forcing us to change colors of baits and our presentation.
“It is all about being able to make decisions on the water not off,” continued Watkins. I think that is what made the difference for us today. This is a small lake and we are all fishing the same areas but we made some adjustments and were able to capitalize on them.
Normally a shallow lake, drought conditions have dried up Lake Somerville to about 40 percent of the size it typically is during normal conditions. Wood piles and rocky bottoms proved to be productive for several teams.
“We fished shallow wood piles and rocky bottoms with reaction baits,” Upshaw said. “We also covered a lot of water. I think our presentation is different than what a lot of others are doing and it is one of the things that separated us from the rest.
“I think we can catch another good sack tomorrow,” Upshaw added. “But by the third day it will really be a grind. There is a lot of pressure on the lake from the tournament and it is going to get a little tougher each day.
Rounding out the top 10 teams are:
2nd: Texas A&M University – Kyle Bates and Cody Collins both of College Station, Texas, five bass, 19-0
3rd: Texas A&M University – Andrew Shafer, College Station, Texas, and Weston Brown, Bryan, Texas, five bass, 18-9
4th: Oral Roberts University – Zach VanKeulen, Overland Park, Kan., and Mark Johnson, Glenpool, Okla., five bass, 17-7
5th: Lamar University – Matt Morrison, Tomball, Texas, and Danny Iles, Hemphill, Texas, five bass, 15-14
6th: Louisiana State University – Timothy Morris, Donaldsonville, La., and Richard Murdock, Lawrenceville, Ga., five bass, 15-14
7th: University of Oklahoma – Paul Muzljakovich, Wagoner, Okla., and Tyler Nipper, Tahlequah, Okla., five bass, 15-0
8th: Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi – Jacob Heath, and Kennedy Schwartzburg, both of Corpus Christi, Texas, five bass, 12-12
9th: Lamar University – Justin Royal, Vidor, Texas, and Troy Luce, Beaumont, Texas, five bass, 11-5
10th: Texas A&M University, Kingsville – Jerod Hawkes, Sabinal, Texas, and Cody Burrell, Kingsville, Texas, four bass, 10-4
Anglers will take off from Rocky Creek Park located on Rocky Creek Park Road in Burton, Texas, at 7:30 a.m. each morning. All weigh-ins will be held on the Texas A&M campus at the corner of George Bush Drive and Wellborn Road just south of Bright Football Complex in College Station. Friday’s weigh-ins will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at 2:30 p.m., or upon the completion of the Texas A&M vs. Baylor football game. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Texas A&M will be hosting the College Fishing Festival throughout the three day tournament. Students and fishing fans alike will be treated to the a Ranger Boat simulator, Sony PS3 Gaming Trailer, tailgate games, a sports zone along with contests for cash and several prize giveaways. The first 50 students at the festival Friday will receive a free rod and reel. The festival will take place on the Texas A&M campus at the corner of George Bush Drive and Wellborn Road just south of Bright Football Complex in College Station from 2 – 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The top five teams from each of the five regional tournaments will advance to the national championship where the first-place team will win a top award of $100,000; $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club.
Coverage of the Texas Regional Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Nov. 27 from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWCollegeFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/CollegeFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS
FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.